REAP Grants: Help for Rural Small Businesses and Agricultural Producers to Invest in Solar

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Owning a small business in a rural area or producing agricultural products requires energy, which is increasingly costly. Thankfully, many rural small business owners, farmers, and ranchers are eligible for Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) Grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help cover up to 25% of solar energy installation costs! Renewable Energy Design Group (RED Group) understands all the facets of these federal grants and is here to answer any questions you might have to get the financial help you deserve for this investment in your future. 

Our latest blog is a Q&A on REAP Grants. We cover everything from eligibility to when to apply. Before we dive in, we want to give a little background on our experience with rural small businesses and agricultural producers in the Carolinas that have utilized REAP Grants. Our years of working with outstanding businesses like these helps us truly understand their unique clean energy, environmental, and financial goals. 

We understand that grants can be confusing, and we’re here to help you. Whether you still have questions after reading through our blog or are ready to get started with your own solar energy analysis from us, call us at 877-432-0857. We are ready to assist you.  

Rural Small Businesses and Agricultural Producers 

Here are a few of our REAP Grant success stories we wanted to share. 

  • Dom Bakeries: This rural small business trusted us to install an 18.975 kW DC solar electric (PV) system on their flat rooftop overlooking picturesque North Wilkesboro. Known for their baked goods and handcrafted pizzas, this family-owned business started in the 1970s in Michigan before they relocated to the North Carolina foothills. The expected Internal Rate of Return (IRR) for this solar installation is 22%.
  • Fuller Architecture: Located in the Mocksville Court Square, this rural small business invested in a 10 kW DC solar electric (PV) system for their flat rooftop. Established in 1992, this architecture firm is located in the historic Southern Bank building. With current rates of inflation, the projected cash flow payback period for this project is less than five years.
  • JMS: This Statesville-based rural small business’s 198 kW solar array consists of approximately 495 panels located on the commercial building’s roof with 5 Solaredge inverters. Founded in 1981, JMS designs and manufactures standard and custom temperature sensors and temperature accessories.
  • Wise Acres: Known for their strawberries, sunflowers, and pumpkins, this agricultural producer, located in Indian Trail, NC, is where we installed a 375 square-foot ground-mounted 6.21 kW DC solar array.

Rural small businesses and agricultural producers and the businesses eligible for REAP Grants as follows:

  • Agricultural producers: at least 50 percent of gross income must come from agricultural operations. 
  • Rural small businesses: meet the SBA definition of small business and be located in a rural area with a population of under 50,000 residents. 
  • To check eligibility, click here. The 2022 Application close dates are April 14 and in October.

What is a REAP Grant? 

The REAP Program was created by congress in 2008 to, “provide guaranteed loan financing and grant funding to agricultural producers and rural small businesses for renewable energy systems or to make energy efficiency improvements.” Currently, the program has a permanent funding baseline of $50 million per year.

What Do the Funds Cover?

Grant funding for small and large solar generation projects cover up to 25 percent of projects’ total eligible project costs, which include all materials and installation. 

RED Group Can Help With Your REAP Grant Application Process!

Applications can be submitted year-round and deadlines for biannual rounds of funding are in April and October. Applications are available at your USDA local office. While the application process can seem daunting, RED Group has a proven track record of helping our solar energy installation clients successfully navigate this process. Call us today at 877-432-0857 so we can discuss your energy needs and if you are eligible for a REAP Grant.  

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